Ask These Questions before Joining Clinical Trials

  

There are pros and cons of joining clinical trials. It’s important for pharmaceutical companies to test new products and medications. It is equally important that potential participants make an informed decision to take part in the study. It’s the law! Unfortunately, many doctors, hospitals and pharma companies fall short in following the letter of the law.

The United States government says that every clinical trial participant has the right to an informed consent. Studies should minimize the risks to participants by ensuring that potential benefits outweigh risks.

When my husband injured his back at work, he had surgery to insert a “synthetic bone graft material” into his lower back. We later discovered that the bone graft material used on him had been harvested from cadaver bone. Not only was this not disclosed to us, but he wasn’t participating in a clinical trial. It also put him at risk for a host of diseases that occur with human transplants. We took on a large hospital and pharma company in court. Find out more about the full story in my book: The Dark Side of Injury.

Easy-to-understand information is supposed to be provided to potential participants before they join a trial. But, there can be loopholes. If you are considering joining clinical trials, you need to ask questions. Every situation is different. However, there are some standard questions to ask:

  • Why are the companies/doctors conducting the research?
  • What do the researchers hope to accomplish?
  • What is the origin and makeup of the product? (Note: Product could be a device, therapy, medication, or other medical element)
  • Has your exact condition been treated in the trial?
  • How is the product expected to work?
  • What are suspected and known risks to the participant associated with the product?
  • Are there potential long-term side effects?
  • What are the potential benefits for the participant?
  • Are there safer treatments available? If so, what are the effectiveness and side effects of each?)
  • What is the timeframe of the trial?
  • Is there medical support after the trial?

It’s a shame that some trials don’t follow the law, so you must protect yourself. Don’t sign away your rights to file a lawsuit in the event of malpractice. Get more resources to help you navigate worker’s comp, health insurance and the medical/pharma industry in my book, The Dark Side of Injury.

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